CFA Leaders Meet and Strategize for Bargaining and Beyond

CFA members from all 23 CSU campuses converged in Sacramento last week for a series of leadership meetings and the 2020 Spring Leadership Kickoff event. 

Participants heard from members of the recently formed Bargaining Team about the next steps in the process and the results of the survey that members completed last fall. 

Sifting through data collected from over 7,000 survey responses and 694 pages of open-ended qualitative responses was challenging, but CFA Vice President and Bargaining Team Chair Kevin Wehr insists he enjoys this work! Importantly, the analysis showed strong unity among the bargaining unit for many core issues. 

Wehr notes, “the survey showed that our members want to see fair increases in compensation, a pedagogically sound workload, and professional dignity for all faculty of the CSU. The results show deep concern about extending and defending our rights, underscoring the need for respect for the profession, and pursuing racial and social justice on our campuses and in our communities. In short: Rights, Respect, and Justice.”

Bargaining Team and Contract Development and Bargaining Strategy Team members will be attending CFA chapter meetings throughout the Spring term, to engage with faculty across the system in these important discussions. 

Follow this link for the dates, times, and locations of the upcoming meetings.

The focal piece of Kickoff was a special four-hour training workshop developed for CFA by the Center for Story-based Strategy. The Center describes itself as “a national movement-building organization dedicated to harnessing the power of narrative for social change.”

Starting off, volunteers participated in an interactive exercise that asked people to agree or disagree with a series of statements about their hopefulness for the future or the persuasive power of truth alone to move people to take action. These are tough positions to take, and our members and student interns who took part in the exercise showed that they were moved in the course of the exercise to change their positions based on the stories and experiences of others around them.

The training introduced faculty to narrative power analysis and engaged the group in a rapid prototyping activity where teams tried to put theory into practice.

After the standing ovation for the trainers, Felicia Perez and Shana McDavis-Conway, CFA President Charles Toombs reflected, “This training was so timely and engaging, in part because it showed us how we can all be more creative and tell our stories in more powerful and persuasive ways. As we prepare for a serious bargaining contract campaign, we will all need to deepen these skills. Best of all, we now have some new tools that we can apply to just about any story we want to tell about our experiences as faculty in the CSU.” 

Participants left feeling inspired to use their imaginations and to call on each other for support and guidance as CFA enters the final stages to get our sponsored bill, Assembly Bill 1460, passed through the State Legislature. 

After all, when we fight, we win.  As CFA members gear up to advocate for AB 1460, they remembered their successful campaign last year to convince CalPERS to eliminate investments in two corporations that run migrant detention centers. 

Following Kickoff, CFA’s three leadership Councils (Presidents, Lecturers, and Racial and Social Justice) and the Board of Directors met to conclude the weekend activities.